New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren whitewashes Israeli minister’s call for genocide

A week ago, I speculated that we might soon be reading a puff piece from New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren on Naftali Bennett, the new Israeli education minister who is proud of his record of killing Arabs.

My thought was inspired by Rudoren’s December 2013 makeover for Israel’s then foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman in which she claimed that the settler from Moldova had lost his “abrasive” style and turned over a new leaf as a “conciliatory diplomat.”

As recently as this March, Lieberman called for the beheading of Palestinians.

But Rudoren surprised me. Instead of going for Bennett, she has produced a puff piece on Israel’s new justice minister Ayelet Shaked, Bennett’s colleague in the Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) party.

Last July, The Electronic Intifada made Shaked world famous by translating her Facebook post calling for genocide of Palestinians.

But Rudoren’s piece takes its time to even get to that issue. First we learn that Shaked “danced ballet, was active in the Scouts and excelled at math.” We learn from admirers that she “is a person not of words, but of hard work.”

“Accusations”

Ayelet Shaked (Wikipedia)

Finally, in paragraph 21, Rudoren gets to the small matter of Ayelet’s call for mass murder:

A flash point came last June, when Ms. Shaked posted on Facebook a never-published article by a settler activist who had died. It described the entire Palestinian people as “the enemy,” called youths who become “martyrs” while attacking Israelis “snakes” and said their mothers should “go to hell” with them.

Bloggers accused her of promoting genocide. She deleted the post and wrote an op-ed article attacking the attackers.

“It was a mistake,” Ms. Shaked said in the interview, a day before her swearing-in. “I’m doing a lot of mistakes, like every human being.”

Although Rudoren does link to The Electronic Intifada’s post, she presents the facts about Shaked’s statements dismissively as a matter of mere accusations from “bloggers” and gives Shaked’s response equal weight.

Apart from a few quoted words, Rudoren did not actually assess what Shaked wrote – or her response, in which the minister suggests falsely that her words were mistranslated by The Electronic Intifada, “a website dedicated to daily and hourly vilification of my country.”

Judge for yourself

Shaked’s June post, in which she reproduced and endorsed the words of late Israeli settler activist Uri Elitzur, is horrific. Almost any sentence stands out for its bloodlust. Here’s just a few of them:

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.

Then …

And in our war this is sevenfold more correct, because the enemy soldiers hide out among the population, and it is only through its support that they can fight. Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

This is nothing short of a rationale for exterminating Palestinian civilians by defining them, from cradle to grave, as “enemy combatants.”

Can we imagine Rudoren allowing someone who incited the murder of Israeli Jewish civilians in similar terms to shrug it off as just a human foible, a “mistake”?

This is just another of the ways The New York Times helps whitewash Israel’s state-sponsored violence and racism.

Apologizing to cancer

In the news today: Likud lawmaker Miri Regev has been appointed as Israel’s new culture minister.

In 2012, David Sheen ranked Regev No. 5 on his list of Israel’s “racist ringleaders.” Most notoriously that year, Regev told an Israeli mob that African asylum-seekers were “a cancer in the body” of the nation.

Following outrage at the mob violence – a “pogrom,” Sheen calls it – that Regev helped incite, Regev apologized. But not to Africans for calling them “cancer.” Rather, she apologized to cancer sufferers for comparing them to Africans.

Perhaps another glowing puff piece from Rudoren is already in the works?

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Comments

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I believe the NYT piece was well written and fairly balanced. I am not a supported of Ms. Shaked in any way, but I do believe in fairness. Ms. Shaked did not, in fact, call for genicide. The article she did not, in fact, author also did not call for genocide. It is true that YOU said that it did, and that was pointed out by the NYT piece, but that still does not make it true. I disagree with almost anything in the article written by the late Elizur, but he in fact did not call for genicide. He called for the killing if those individuals who actively support and provide logistics for terrorists. That is in no way a call for genocide. So while you have an agenda, please try to be a little fairer.

Ali Abunimah's picture

I wonder if you would write this comment about an article that identified all Jews as “the enemy” and that referred to Jewish women giving birth to “little snakes.” No one would dare to defend such an article as you are doing. I try to maintain the same standards with regard to all humans and not devalue the lives of some by minimizing, as you are doing, clear calls and justifications for their extermination.

Go ahead, replace the word “Palestinian” with “Jew” in Shaked’s post and then see how it sounds to your ears.

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Isn't it past time to recognize the simple truth: The New York Times stands behind Israel, whatever crimes, atrocities, and other abuses it commits and has committed for 60-odd years in pursuit of the 1895 Zionist campaign to remove the Arab population of Palestine by force, a naked colonial campaign when colonialism had become unacceptable in the civilized world. This is, of course, racism, pure and simple.